“The average test delay is too long,” said Dr. Francis Collins on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday. “And that really undercuts the value of the testing, because you do the testing to find out who’s carrying the virus and then quickly get them isolated so they don’t spread it around.”
This is hard to do when there is a long delay in the testing, said Collins, director of the National Institutes for Health.
“We need to do things that are more on the spot,” Collins said. “There’s a number of new technologies that are coming along that look very promising in that space. We need to invest a lot of money, and the government is willing to do so, in scaling those up.”
Collins said that the science of this is critical and that NIH was “deeply engaged” with in efforts to try to develop an additional array of point of care tests.
He also pointed out that this week, around seven or eight hundred nursing homes will be getting sent FDA approved point of care tests, so that people who are in a high risk environment will be able t find out if they have the virus in less than an hour, according to Collins.
“That the kind of thing that I personally, along with many others and other parts of the government, are working on night and day to try to do a better job of this,” he said. “You’re right, we have to come up with a better turnaround time.”